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Earlier this year there was a bill proposed to the state legislature of North Carolina. As with most bills that don’t involve which bathroom you have to use, very few have heard about it. Strangely enough, this bill had bipartisan sponsors.
Rep. George Cleveland (R-Onslow) serving District 14 and Rep. Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland) serving District 42 joined forces on the HB208 after being approached by a group wishing to help nonprofits back in February of this year.
HB208 proposed a simple $25 tax write-off for donating your deer carcass to a charitable organization that helps feed the needy. There are several groups such as this in North Carolina, such as the North Carolina Hunters for the Hungry (NCHFTH), Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH), Sportsman Against Hunger, and even the North Carolina Bowhunter’s Association’s Deer Donation Registry.
The bill was proposed and sent to committee after getting an initial thumbs-up from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC). It currently still stands in committee.
There are many deer taken each year in which the meat is not processed for various reasons. It can range from the hunter doesn’t like the taste of venison or wild game, doesn’t have anyone to give it to, or the animal is found later and there was a risk of spoiled meat amongst others. And it was also stated the bill wasn’t introduced due to concerns of deer taken in unethical or illegal means.
Deer meat is easily ground into sausage (usually with pork added) or hamburger, and the donations go a long ways. Hunters for the Hungry estimated over 1,000 deer were donated last season, which equated to around 20 tons of meat for those in need.
Many wild-game processors currently will take deer meat and process for free or at a reduced rate when the hunter wishes to donate to these various charitable organizations, as well as others such as soup kitchens, homeless shelters and women’s shelters.
Of course, there is no need to wait to donate just so you can collect a $25 tax cut. These organizations have been in existence for years, if not decades, and can always use your help. If you take a deer and don’t intend on eating it yourself, or even if you only want the backstrap and scrap the rest, let the rest go towards these organizations.
In fact, remember this for next summer as many will also take dove from the opening weekend hunts as food donations as well.
It is but one more thing hunters and outdoorsmen can do for our community that increases both exposure and good will.
Bill Howard is an avid bowhunter and outdoorsman. He teaches hunter education (IHEA) and bowhunter education (IBEP) in North Carolina. He is a member of North Carolina Bowhunters Association and Pope & Young, and is an official measurer for both.